Kristen Cheney on the 'orphan industrial complex'

Kristen Cheney

ISS senior lecturer Kristen Cheney was invited as a leading research expert to a meeting in London on Monday 23 January 2017 with key development policy advisers in the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

In the ‘Expert Roundtable: Protecting Children — Evidence on Impacts of Institutional Care’, Cheney and other external experts, whose participation was facilitated by the NGO Hope and Homes for Children, presented their research on the connections between the institutionalization of children and other child protection challenges in developing countries. 

Cheney briefly presented her research on the ‘orphan industrial complex’ — in which she traces funding streams that point to activities such as orphan tourism, orphanage volunteering, and other support for orphanages — as the primary drivers for unnecessary separation of children from families and damaging child institutionalization. 

The roundtable, which was attended by 16 key DFID policy advisers from across different departments, opened a discussion with DFID staff on ways to link deinstitutionalization with DFID’s key strategic priorities, most especially their programmes on the prevention of child exploitation. It is hoped that this roundtable will just be the beginning of an ongoing dialogue that will inform DFID’s policy strategies and programming into the future.